Many of the electronic fraud schemes in use today are plays on scams that have been around for years, way before the internet and some even before phones. Updated to use today’s technology, the fraudsters use new innovations to trick their victims.
The technology may be new, but the scams still play upon the same age-old weakness in human nature: our trust. Many people assume an email that says it’s from the IRS, is indeed from the IRS. Clicking the links, they have no idea they have just inadvertently installed a little malicious program called a keylogger onto their machine, and now every keystroke they make is being watched. Far from science fiction, this type of phishing attack is happening thousands of times daily. Our only defense is vigilance and knowledge. If we know what the criminals are doing, we can resist their efforts to make us a victim.
A scam that has been well-documented for about a year now, but has seen extreme activity this week, is the Debit Card Phone Scam. Victims are receiving calls on residential and cellular phones. An automated system states that your card has been deactivated for shopping and debit purchases and to reactivate your card enter your 16 digit number. DO NOT ENTER YOUR NUMBER! If you receive one of these calls please hang up. If you have already received one of these calls and entered your debit or credit card number, please contact your financial institution immediately.
This type of attack is called vishing or voice phishing. The criminal is running a sales number game. They know that eventually, they’ll get a trusting person to enter those numbers and give them the keys to their bank account. Don’t let it be you! The attackers are pretty smart, they’ll try anything to get your information.
Last few notes:
– Reset your homepage in your browser to https://encrypted.google.com/
– How proactive is your bank? This link is a Google SSL search for “Bank of America security scam”. Replace Bank of America with your bank’s name. Hopefully, you will find that the results are more pointing to your bank’s website, describing the proactive measures they have taken to protect you, rather than like this example, the real world examples of how their customers have been ripped off. Of course B of A, being the largest consumer bank in the world is probably the number one fraud target. Maybe one reason to bank elsewhere?